Stepinac Graduate Receives WBT's 2014 Bob Fitzsimmons Arts Scholarship

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Stepinac Graduate Receives WBT's 2014 Bob Fitzsimmons Arts Scholarship

This year's recipient of Westchester Broadway Theatre's Bob Fitzsimmons Scholarship is Christopher Guzman, a 2014 graduate of Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY.

His love for the theater began at the tender age of 7 when he attended theater summer camp at the Westchester Music Conservatory and later at the White Plains Performing Arts Center. However, it was at Stepinac where he blossomed as an actor and realized he wanted to pursue acting as a career. Chris participated in all 8 Stepinac productions during his 4 years of high school with roles in A VIEW FROM A BRIDGE (Rodolpho), BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Monsieur D'Arque), TWENTIETH CENTURY (George Smith), THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Raoul), for which he earned the Metropolitan High School Theater Award for Best Supporting Actor, A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Scrooge), EVITA (Che) for which he won the Metropolitan High School Award for Best Leading Actor, making him the first student to have won a coveted acting Metro back to back in the 15 year history of the Awards. His last two productions included AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE (Dr. Stockman) and lastly, the regional premiere of MARY POPPINS (MR. George Banks), this last role also earned him a nomination as Best Leading Actor.

His dedication has not only been reflected on stage but in the classroom, where he also excelled graduating at the top 5 percent of his class with a GPA of 95.2, which earned him numerous merit awards including the prestigious Order of the Crusaders medal for his dedication and to the school.

Chris will be attending NYU Tisch School of the Arts this fall and is ready to embrace with passion all the challenges the future brings.

The Award presentation is on July 31st at WBT before the evening production of Mary Poppins.

The Scholarship is given annually to a college-bound senior who has excelled in the theatre arts programs while attending Stepinac High School. The prestigious Arts Scholarship is named after Bob Fitzsimmons, a graduate of Stepinac High School, who died suddenly at the age of 37 in March of 1992. He was the Public Relations Director of the Westchester Broadway Theatre, as well as a gifted actor, producer, writer and a director of shows at WBT and at numerous theatres throughout the County.

The scholarship was established in his name by the owners of Westchester Broadway Theatre, Bill Stutler and Bob Funking, the entire employee staff of WBT, and the many friends and relatives of Bob Fitzsimmons. Under the auspices of WBT, Allan Gruet, (former WBT Public Relations Director, who replaced Bobby Fitzsimmons) and George Puello spearheaded two fundraisers. The first & most successful fundraiser was held at WBT, the second was held at Stepinac High School. Mr. Puello was responsible for directing & producing the entertainment portion of the events, while Mr. Gruet handled the ticketing for the fundraisers & the continuing administration of the self-sustaining scholarship. Over the years, along with the assistance of producer Bob Funking, Allan has continued to manage the scholarship, making it possible to present the award consistently each year. In recent years, Frank Portanova,Vice Principal of Stepinac High School, has been extremely helpful and cooperative, making some financial donations to the fund to help ensure the life of the scholarship. He also is responsible for selecting the student winner for this highly competitive award. Since its inception, $22,000.00 in scholarships have been awarded. The annual scholarship in Bob's name is our collective way of keeping alive the memory of our dear friend, Bobby Fitzsimmons.

Pictured: Christopher Guzman as 'Che' in EVITA at Stepinac.

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